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North Carolina chemist receives award for developing new process to make HIV drug

Chemist Brian L. Bray, Ph.D., of Trimeris, Inc., in Durham, N.C., will be honored September 24 by the worlds largest scientific society for developing an innovative way to make large quantities of a complex drug used to fight HIV. He will receive one of four 2001 Industrial Innovation Awards at the American Chemical Societys Southeast regional meeting in Savannah, Ga.

The innovative process created and developed by Dr. Bray played a critical role in the introduction of a new class of peptide-based AIDS/HIV therapeutics, said M.C. Kang, Ph.D., senior vice president of development at Trimeris, Inc.

Peptides compounds of two or more amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins control numerous body processes and are a promising source of new drugs for treating many diseases. Prior to Brays discovery, complex peptides were difficult to produce in large, economical quantities.

Bray has developed a new approach to making one of these drugs, T-20 a 36-amino acid peptide that works by blocking HIV before it enters cells affordable and available to more patients. The process works by making small groups of peptide fragments and combining them to make a longer peptide chains such as T-20.

The success of the T-20 process development will open a new chapter for the drug discovery community and demonstrates the value of peptides as therapeutics, said Kang. According to the National Institutes of Health, as many as 900,000 Americans may be infected with HIV. Trimeris recently completed enrollment in two Phase III clinical trials to evaluate T-20 as an effective treatment for HIV.

The American Chemical Societys Industrial Innovation Awards recognize individuals and teams whose discoveries and inventions contribute to the commercial success of their companies and enhance our quality of life.

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Contact: Sharon Worthy
s_worthy@acs.org
202-872-4371
American Chemical Society
24-Sep-2001


Page: 1

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